A People’s Victory on the Bridge in Selma

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At the 50th commemoration of Selma, it was ordinary people, who do extraordinary things, at the lead and at the center of the 70,000 people gathered who marched across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. As rumors and misinformation fly around the internet about what happened in Selma this weekend, our Southern Movement Assembly delegation want to amplify the powerful reasons why there were no big celebrities leading the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years after Bloody Sunday.

While the TV preachers, famous speakers and their handlers remained at Brown Chapel, local leadership, Rose Sanders Toure made a bold call not to wait. Rose and countless unnamed people have kept the flame of history lit, commemorating the significant moment when state violence attacked the Southern Freedom Movement foot soldiers of 1965 on that bridge. Representing the rising tide of the Formerly Incarcerated People’s Movement, Rev. Kenneth Glasgow has been organizing a ‘Backwards March’ over the bridge since 2007, a week before the Jubilee Crossing to express the need for our movements to ‘go back, get it right, and go forward with everyone who has been forgotten or left behind.’

On March 8, 2015, under the gaze of a national spotlight, the people’s movement started with a Backwards March of formerly incarcerated people, youth, elder movement veterans, international refugees, LGBTQ folks, and grassroots organizers. Those who fight on every frontline, resisted being erased by the idea of individual, iconic leadership by wearing bright gold banners that read: We are the Peoples Movement, Leadership from the Bottom-up. The Backwards March parted at the bottom of the bridge, and Rev. Glasgow with The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS) led the march back over the bridge with Rose, the Southern People’s Movement Assembly, and partner organizations.

In 2015, 50 years later, it was the People’s Movement of today that reclaimed the bridge for the people, for our collective memories, and for the current frontline battles against state violence, economic displacement, mass incarceration, and injustice.  As Rev. Glasgow says in this short video highlighting this victory: “The people are tired. We will not wait. . . . Enough is Enough. Unite to Fight.”

The Southern Movement Assembly recognizes the fierce leadership of local Alabama freedom fighters past, present & future and is calling for action over the next two years to grow the Southern Freedom Movement of the 21st century with the Southern People’s Initiative.

VIDEO OF HIDDEN HISTORY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKswBq4v3q4
MORE ON THE BACKWARDS MARCH: http://www.theroot.com/articles/history/2015/03/the_contradictions_of_selma50.1.html

MORE PHOTOS: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/116624007298117539119/albums/6124666795467795377

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